COVID-19 Response Team Update: Despite increase in cases, testing and hospitalizations, Nevada ‘in line with other states’

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CARSON CITY (KLAS) — The State of Nevada COVID-19 Response team provided an update on the State’s comprehensive COVID-19 response as part of Governor Steve Sisolak’s Nevada United:  Roadmap to Recovery. While we are on the high end of the spectrum, Nevada is now in line with other states.

INFECTION RATES:

The State of Nevada COVID-19 Response Director says Nevada is not a leader in infection rates, according to the Nevada Health Response team.

“We are seeing an increase in cases so wearing a mask is essential,” said Cage.

If the rate of transmission for a single person is above 1.0, the virus can spread quickly. If the rate of transmission is below that number, the virus can stop spreading and be controlled. On June 28, Nevada hit a rate of 1.61. As of this morning, the rate is at 1.20 with a prediction interval of .098 to 1.48.

The state COVID-19 Response team did say there are efforts underway to develop a self-service option for residents if they test positive.

CONTACT TRACING:

Contact tracing relies on timely reporting on tests from labs, timely collection of contact information on cases, and reaching out to the cases to interview.

According to Julia Peek, the Deputy Administrator of Community Health Services about 20%-25% of the identified cases were found as a result of contact tracing and she further emphasized the need for testing to stop spread of the virus.

The response team has faced challenges with contacting people due to inconsistent and inaccurate contact information. “We cannot follow-up if people do not know the names of people they were in contact with,” said Peek.

“We are fully reliant on the individual responding to a phone call or email. They could think our communication is a scam and we have been unsuccessful in reaching some people as a result, ” added Peek.

Peek recommended, if you were in close proximity to a person who tested positive please get tested a week after exposure for more accurate results and self-isolate.

As of last week, there are about 500 staff members helping with contact tracing efforts, along with volunteers and another 100 are being interviewed to assist in making a dent in the contact tracing.

The Response team also noted that Nevada is moving forward with a new tool, an APP that will be citizen-based and proximity-based in addition to the prevention testing and contact tracing that will help in the fight against COVID-19.

REVIEW OF STATE COVID-19 NUMBERS:

Nevada has seen 23,785 coronavirus cases that is an increase of 876 new cases since yesterday. Of those, 836 cases are reported in Clark County, 2 of them in Washoe County, and 38 spread throughout the remainder of the state.

The small increase in Washoe County was due to over-reporting on July 6 by Washoe County Health District. This has since been corrected.

HOSPITALIZATIONS AND VENTILATOR USAGE:

Confirmed hospitalizations have increased since May 31 with most being in Clark County. Statewide hospitalization rates are at 72% capacity for all patients, with an average for ICU at 74%.

According to the report, ventilator use is at 34% statewide, the figure includes all patients, while, the ICU and ventilator numbers are stable, more people are requiring hospitalization, however, cases are not as serious as before, according to the Nevada Health Response team.

State officials also stated Tuesday in their report that the first stay-at-home order helped minimize cases and helped prepare for this second wave of cases that the state is now seeing. The Nevada Health Response team is still urging Nevadans to avoid going out to help mitigate the spread.

“Subjectively, we are doing better than we were in January,” said Cage.

The Nevada Health Response team is monitoring ventilator use to make sure hospitals have the support they need as well.

MASK/FACE COVERING DIRECTIVE:

On June 26, the face-covering order was enacted. Cage says it will be a minimum of 2 weeks, and more likely 3 weeks, before seeing an impact from this order. Already, they have seen an increase in enforcement throughout the state.

“Stay at home if possible,” said Caleb Cage, the State of Nevada COVID-19 Response Director. “Practice social-distancing when around people outside of your household and wear a face covering,” added Cage.

For the full report and testing locations visit Nevada Health Response website: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

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